Atletico still hopeful Aguero will stay

MADRID - Atletico Madrid are still hoping their Argentina forward Sergio Aguero will abandon his bid to be released from his contract, the La Liga club's sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero said on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old, who is known as "Kun" after a Japanese cartoon character, has been linked in the media with clubs including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea since he announced at the end of May that he wanted to leave Atletico.

Perez Caminero told a news conference the club were confident Aguero would return from representing Argentina at the Copa America and would continue to be "as important a player as he has been in past seasons" for Atletico.

"Everyone here wants him to stay and if we manage to change his mind it will make us all happy," Perez Caminero said.

"All we are thinking about is that Kun will continue to wear the red-and-white shirt next season."

Aguero, who has a child with Diego Maradona's daughter, extended his contract to 2014 in January but his buy-out clause was reduced from 60 million euros to 45 million, prompting speculation about a possible exit.

Atletico missed out on next season's Champions League, qualifying instead for the continent's second-tier club competition, the Europa League, which they won in 2010.